Scout Friday Picks: Identikit

By Celene Sakurako

Five-piece neo-psychedelic jangle pop shoegaze band Identikit that is Sandy James (vocals/synth), Darrel Ballesteros (bass), Mik Laborde (synth), Beejay Esber (guitar/synth), and Manny Marinas (drums) is an old ass band. They’ve been in the music scene for eight years now—that means when you entered high school they were already seniors in the gig scene. But, that doesn’t mean that their sound is outdated. If anything, their synth-induced tunes are relevant now, more than ever.

I mean, what is it that they say? Good music is good music. And good music is what Identikit makes.

First formed in 2009, with original members: Darrel, Manny, and Sandy, Beejay joined in 2012 as the synths guy, and switched from synths to guitar in 2014 when their former guitarist Joe de Jesus Yung left. “I had no choice but to learn how to play the synths,” Sandy says. She goes on, “We continued doing gigs, just the four of us, but I wasn’t really comfortable playing synths. I’m not that good at it! So we added a fifth member last year, Mik.”

So far, they’ve released two EPs and one full-length album: EP Saturday Morning Chemistry (2010), album Out of the Floodways and Into Your Homes (2013), and EP Soundproof Wall (2016), and they’re currently working on a new five-tracked EP out next year.

As all of them have full-time jobs, they keep their gig schedule tight to “at least once a month,” but they say “despite our work schedules, we always find time to jam and try out different shit with our sound and all. It’s nice to have a day job (because bills! *laughs*), but having a creative outlet is just as important. So yeah, we find time. It keeps everyone sane.”

With that being said, they’ve made us a playlist composed of songs that make their commute bearable titled: “OK Commuter,” because as we all know “Manila traffic can be particularly long and grueling.” 

Yoyoy Villame – “Tsuper ng Jeepney” 

Sobrang favorite ko siya. Magaan lang at feeling ko parang nag ta-time travel ako.” -Beejay

Juan de la Cruz Band – “Project” 

Kargado ‘tong kanta na ‘to. Parang kahit makipagbungguan ka sa LRT, ‘di ka tatablan kasi para ka ring bato.” -Beejay

311 – “Life’s Not a Race”


“Always my feel-good commute song. The jazzy festive sound eases me, from heavy traffic to bad pollution, I don’t care anymore when I listen to this song. That guitar solo takes it all away.” -Darrel

Eggboy – “Just Can’t Let You Stay”

“Perfect song when you’re on a bus, staring at city lights.” -Darrel

 Flunk – “Haldi (feat. Daniel Johnston)”

“Like some repetitive narrative, getting lost in the routine.” -Mik

Jerkcurb – “Night on Earth”


Kapag pauwi ka na galing trabaho, slow down against the rush hour. Steady lang. Makakauwi ka rin.” -Mik

Liars – “Mess On A Mission” 

“Best song for running up the stairs.” -Mann

Hey! It’s Your Birthday – “Dead Cat”

“Best tulala-sa-traffic song in a UV Express. Simple ng song pero lupet ng drum fills.” -Mann

Thee Oh Sees – “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” 

“My fuck-it-im-late-anyway song.” -Sandy

Solex – “Pick Up” 

“For my morning blues.” -Sandy

Photo by Don Dalmacio

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